Falconry is the privilege of the rich and noble; some of the birds trained to hunt and kill are more precious than gemstones or gold. Families of falconers have been handing down the secrets of breeding and training hawks, falcons, eagles and owls, from generation to generation. They can control them with a single whistle, or a slight nod of the head; they do their work so well that some claim they even know magic, a kind of ancient knowledge of words and spells to bent the proud birds to their will. There is no noble family without at least one falconer at their service.
Truth behind the myth
Falconry is an important part of Arab culture, and recognized as living human heritage by UNESCO. Falconers mainly use Peregrin Falcons and Saker Falcons; although smaller than hawks and eagles, these birds are regarded as swift and fearless. In ancient times, falconry was both a practical way of hunting and a noble's privilege, not only in the Arab world but all throughout Europe as well.
In one story of the Arabian Nights called King Sindibad and His Falcon (5th night) a falcon saves its master's life by sacrificing itself. These birds were believed to be the loyal companions of kings and nobles, capable of heroic deeds. The story of the Clever Falcon can be found in many cultures around Europe and Asia; the name of the king changes from time to time, but the bird is always the same.